Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Battle With Plastic Discs

Notice anything different about me in this photo?

(Other than the fact that I am holding my third consecutive award for Excellence in Annual Reports from the NH Local Government Center, she noted quite immodestly.)

The real answer is that I'm wearing contacts instead of the eyeglasses that age forced me to add to my daily apparel almost 15 years ago.

And I feel inclined to mention that I'm wearing contacts because, quite frankly, not enough people have noticed this change on their own, particularly in relation to the pain and suffering I've experienced in succumbing to vanity.

Some people can tell there's been a change in my apperance, but have a difficult time identifying exactly what that might be. My own mother didn't even notice and when I asked, she said I didn't usually wear my glasses all the time anyway. Perhaps she meant prior to the past 15 years of daily wear and, in her defense, she's known me far more years without them.

This "contacts" experience has not been especially easy, although my viewpoint may be skewed by the fact that the other person experiencing a one-day contacts tryout offered by my eye doctor was a 9-year-old girl, who had NO problems adjusting to plastic discs plastered across her eyeballs. As someone else noted, there are many things 9-year-olds can do that I can't, but wouldn't you think decades of life experience would give me at least a little edge? I mean, a 9-year-old???? Then there are the millions of other people in the world who quickly pop in their contacts every day. Why can't I be one of them?

I moved on to the training session where contacts technicians -- all of whom were wearing eyeglasses I should point out -- attempted to teach me how to insert and remove the contacts. You'd have thought tears of frustration would have made it easier, but when it looked like my lesson might continue into the next morning, one gently suggested I consider returning another time. But I had resolved not to let little round pieces of plastic or a 9-year-old get the best of me.
Eventually I was considered proficient enough to leave with my new vision apparatus, support materials and pitying looks on their faces.

They suggested that I turn to No. 2 son as a resource as he has worn contacts for years. When I telephoned him in Washington, DC, to inform him of this, he wasn't exactly receptive. Incredulous might be more like it when he said, "You want me to fly home and help you remove your contacts?"

I hesistated. "Yes, I think that would be a lovely thing for a son to do."

"Sorry, you'll have to figure this out on your own, Mom." (And this is how a child gets removed from his mother's will, by the way.)

The next day, it took almost an hour for me to insert the contacts but a fuzzy spot had developed in the left eye. Days later, I still could not see clearly. As it turns out, that eye has a larger field of vision so I needed a larger contact lens. (If I ever figure out if a larger field of vision is an advantage, I'll let you know.) Meanwhile, it still takes forever to get the contacts in and out, and I'm not sure how much longer my employer is going to allow me to continue with this folly that often further delays my arrival at work.

At last Friday's follow-up appointment, my eye doctor asked how things were going.

"Well, the number of obsecenities uttered during the insertion and removal process seems to have decreased," I said proudly. "And it's no longer taking 45 minutes to an hour to get them in and out."

The doctor laughed. He thought I was kidding.

"But I still can't see as well as I could with my glasses," I added.

"Well, there are some areas that will always be compromised," he noted.

Hmm... Perhaps I should rethink this experience, but I really don't have time right now because I have to go put some pieces of plastic in my eyes.


Anonymous said...

Your cousin Daniel tried contacts when he was a teen. As you know, he has probably been in contact with alternate life forms his whole life. He just didn't look right so returned to glasses. While I DO think you look good, you will always be a kid to me!

MaxWriter said...

Well, heck. I did notice you weren't wearing your glasses for a while at Crime Bake, but did not say a word. I don't see you that often, is my excuse!

I wore small hard plastic contacts in high school, and abandoned them in college, tired of dust getting in them on windy days. I wore soft lenses some years later when I was practicing karate 3 times/week, and stopped again when office-building air (unopenable windows) was just too dry.

Good luck, Pat! At least it's great material for your very entertaining writing voice.


ESP said...

I'm a vet in the contact lens world! Worn them since I was 16, back in the days when they were REALLY hard plastic and deprived your eyes of oxygen. They had to be removed every night because of that. Now, I wear the gas-permeable kind (much better; I can even nap in them, though I still take them out at night). I wear them because a. I'm vain; and b. I actually see much better with them. Good luck!!